File
Embed Sheet Icon Embed Sheet
Print Icon Print
Highlight Mode
Format
Divine Names Icon Divine Names
Number Sources
Box Sources
בס"ד
Sheet Language
Sheet Layout
Side-by-Side Layout
Source Language
Source Layout
Side-by-Side Layout
Reset to Sheet Default
Highlight Tools
Paragraph View
Filter
Highlight Mode is On
Like this? Login or register to create your own source sheet.
בס"ד

Har'rei Kedem, Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik, #183: Defining the Obligation of "Mehadrin" regarding the Chanukah Light

Source Sheet by Gabe Greenberg
Like
  1. שבת כ״א ב:כ״ג-כ״ט
    ת"ר מצות חנוכה נר איש וביתו והמהדרין נר לכל אחד ואחד והמהדרין מן המהדרין ב"ש אומרים יום ראשון מדליק שמנה מכאן ואילך פוחת והולך וב"ה אומרים יום ראשון מדליק אחת מכאן ואילך מוסיף והולך

    Our Sages taught: The mitzvah of Chanukkah is a [single] candle for [each] man and his household [ביתו can also translate as wife], and those who are scrupulous: A candle for each and every one, and the scrupulous among and the scrupulous among the scrupulous: Beit Shammai says: The first day he lights eight, from here going [forward], he goes on reducing, and Beit Hillel says: The first day he lights one, from here going [forward], he goes on adding.

  2. (א) כַּמָּה נֵרוֹת הוּא מַדְלִיק בַּחֲנֻכָּה. מִצְוָתָהּ שֶׁיִּהְיֶה כָּל בַּיִת וּבַיִת מַדְלִיק נֵר אֶחָד בֵּין שֶׁהָיוּ אַנְשֵׁי הַבַּיִת מְרֻבִּין בֵּין שֶׁלֹּא הָיָה בּוֹ אֶלָּא אָדָם אֶחָד. וְהַמְהַדֵּר אֶת הַמִּצְוָה מַדְלִיק נֵרוֹת כְּמִנְיַן אַנְשֵׁי הַבַּיִת נֵר לְכָל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד בֵּין אֲנָשִׁים בֵּין נָשִׁים. וְהַמְהַדֵּר יוֹתֵר עַל זֶה וְעוֹשֶׂה מִצְוָה מִן הַמֻּבְחָר מַדְלִיק נֵר לְכָל אֶחָד בַּלַּיְלָה הָרִאשׁוֹן וּמוֹסִיף וְהוֹלֵךְ בְּכָל לַיְלָה וְלַיְלָה נֵר אֶחָד:

    (1) How many lights do you kindle on Chanukah? It is a commandment that one light be kindled in each and every house whether it be a household with many people or a house with a single person. One who is extra scrupulous one may kindle light according to the number of people in the household, a light for each and every person, whether they are men or women. One who is the most scrupulous and performs the mitzvah in the most choice manner kindles a light for each person on the first night and adds on following nights one light.

  3. (יב) מִצְוַת נֵר חֲנֻכָּה מִצְוָה חֲבִיבָה הִיא עַד מְאֹד וְצָרִיךְ אָדָם לְהִזָּהֵר בָּהּ כְּדֵי לְהוֹדִיעַ הַנֵּס וּלְהוֹסִיף בְּשֶׁבַח הָאֵל וְהוֹדָיָה לוֹ עַל הַנִּסִּים שֶׁעָשָׂה לָנוּ. אֲפִלּוּ אֵין לוֹ מַה יֹּאכַל אֶלָּא מִן הַצְּדָקָה שׁוֹאֵל אוֹ מוֹכֵר כְּסוּתוֹ וְלוֹקֵחַ שֶׁמֶן וְנֵרוֹת וּמַדְלִיק:

    (12) The mitzvah of the Hanukkah candle is an extremely dear one. And one must be careful with it, to publicize the miracle and to increase the praise of God and the thanks to him for the miracles he has done for us. Even if one does not have anything to eat except from charity, he borrows, or he sells his clothes and gets oil and candles and lights.

  4. The first of these two halachot in the Rambam indicates that the added level of "mehadrin" is not required, but rather is optional. That is, one who wishes may add lights per the householders, but the mitzvah only fundamentally requires one light per household.

    The second halacha, with its use of the plural neirot - candles - seems to imply that one must pursue the mehadrin level of multiple candles. How may we reconcile this seeming contradiction?

  5. Rav Soloveitchik, Har'rei Kedem 183

    It seems to me that the answer is, mehadrin min hamehadrin is not an independent idea limited to Chanukah. Rather, it is those who are scrupulous to pursue the Mehadrin level for all mitzvot who must here strive for mehadrin min hamehadrin. Regular people only must light one candle, and it is only these "Mehadrin" folks who are required to light multiple. [In fact, there is an alternate text of Maimonides here which reads "mehader et hamitzvot" - one who strives to glorify all the mitzvot].   It is these scrupulous people who must sell their clothing, etc, in order to acquire multiple candles, for all the members of their household.



    --> This notion, that people can change their personal status vis-a-vis the observance of certain mitzvot, can be seen in other areas of halacha as well. R. Soloveitchik draws our attention to one such example, as follows in the next source:



  6. זֶה הַכְּלָל כָּל שֶׁאִלּוּ הָיְתָה שֶׁלּוֹ הָיָה טוֹעֵן וּפוֹרֵק הֲרֵי זֶה חַיָּב לִטְעֹן וְלִפְרֹק בְּשֶׁל חֲבֵרוֹ. וְאִם הָיָה חָסִיד וְעוֹשֶׂה לִפְנִים מִשּׁוּרַת הַדִּין אֲפִלּוּ הָיָה הַנָּשִׂיא הַגָּדוֹל וְרָאָה בֶּהֱמַת חֲבֵרוֹ רוֹבֶצֶת תַּחַת מַשָּׂאָה שֶׁל תֶּבֶן אוֹ קָנִים וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן פּוֹרֵק וְטוֹעֵן עִמּוֹ:

    The general rule is as follows: if your own animal were in need of loading and unloading [a heavy burden], and you were to do it for your animal, then you are obligated to do so in a similar situation for the animal of your peer. Those who are pious in this regard, and go above and beyond in these situations - even if one were the president - and one were to see another's animal buckling under its burden of straw or canes, etc., then they must help load and unload with the owner.

Made with the Sefaria Source Sheet Builder
www.sefaria.org/sheets
Add Highlight
Create New
Save
Source Sheet created on Sefaria by Gabe Greenberg